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Full text of "A history of Persia"

LIU       DISRUPTION OF SELJUK EMPIRE      i2<

the sack of Baghdad and the murder of the Caliph, aftei
which the Caliphate, the spiritual centre of Islam, ceasec
to exist. This marks-the end of what was in many ways
a great period.

Nothing is more interesting to one deeply interested
in the welfare of Persia than to watch how in the Abbasid
period Persian superiority in everything but the bravery
born of fanaticism reasserted itself, how when the arts of
peace flourished, Persian ascendancy was re-established,
and how later on Persian dynasties once more began to
reign in Iran.

Little can be gleaned of the condition of the masses
at this period, but it is reasonable to suppose that it
depended almost entirely on the strength or weakness,
the justice or the injustice, of the monarch and his
governors. There is no doubt that, as a rule, there was
terrible oppression, for this is the normal state in the East
under an Asiatic government. At the same time it does
not altogether follow that the life of the masses was un-
happy because they were misgoverned. In many cases,
especially where villages escape assessment or can bribe
an assessor, taxes are extremely light, and the Persian
always loves the excitement attending the uncertain
incidence of the maliat, or revenue.

VOL. II

K.